F Y Eye - The Official Newsletter of the College
Issue 26April  2010
- A  M E S S A G E  F R O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T -
President's Letter
On April 14th, Governor David A. Paterson signed into law a bill, A.1138, amending the social services law requiring managed care programs to establish procedures to assure that medical assistance recipients receive access to optometric services by clinicians of the SUNY College of Optometry.
Over the past several years, as medical assistance recipients have been moved from the State Medicaid program to Medicaid Managed Care plans, recipients have found that a number of plans exclude optometrists from their provider panels.  As a result, many of our patients have been forced to seek care elsewhere, or had to be referred unnecessarily for follow-up care.  Others, who would like to receive eye care services from our clinical faculty, have been unable to do so.  Bill A.1138 will require Medicaid Managed Care plans to include the College's providers on those panels.  This action eliminates unnecessary and costly referrals, supports patient choice and strengthens the training of SUNY College of Optometry students who will serve the people of New York as doctors of optometry in the future.
We are very grateful to State Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried for their active roles in helping to enact this legislation, and to SUNY's government relations staff, including Mr. Michael Trunzo, Mr. James Campbell and Ms. Kathy Preston for their support.
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 - M A I N   F E A T U R E -
The Power of SUNY
SUNY Strategic Planning Process
Chancellor Zimpher Launches Strategic Plan
Chancellor Nancy Zimpher unveiled "The Power of SUNY" strategic plan on Tuesday April 13th, at the New York Academy of Sciences in Manhattan.  The plan incorporates six forward-looking, interdependent areas of opportunity and challenge in which SUNY and its 64 campuses may serve as the driving force behind New York State's economic revitalization and to improve the quality of life for its citizens.  The Power of SUNY, (http://www.suny.edu/powerofsuny/), establishes six strategic themes including:
  • Strategic Plan CoverSUNY and the Entrepreneurial Century
  • SUNY and the Seamless Education Pipeline
  • SUNY and a Healthier New York
  • SUNY and an Energy Smart New York
  • SUNY and the Vibrant Community
  • SUNY and the World
The College of Optometry's own strategic plan, "A Shared Vision" (http://www.sunyopt
), is in remarkable alignment with this new SUNY-wide vision for the future with its' own emphasis upon health care, service, biomedical research and a global reach.
D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • That it is estimated, prior to the enactment of A.1138, as many as 7,000 patient visits at the University Eye Center may have been lost annually due to the exclusion of the College clinicians from Managed Medicaid programs.

  • The State University of New York has approximately 465,000 students enrolled during the 2009/10 academic year.

  • The State University of New York has over 2.5 million alumni around the world.

  • According to a Rockefeller Institute Report, the State University of New York ranks 11th among states for attracting research dollars.  In a comparative study to 2006 research activity, SUNY attracted over $878M in support.
- H I G H L I G H T S -
Accreditation Site Visit Scheduled
A collaborative accreditation site visit has been scheduled for April 10 - 13 2011.  The two agencies involved are the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) which accredits our professional OD program and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) which is the regional accreditation agency responsible for overall institutional accreditation.  The process leading to a major self-study document is already underway with the participation of numerous faculty, staff and students.  Dr. Steven Schwartz chairs the Self-Study Steering Committee.
The accreditation site team will be co-chaired by Dr. Laura Schweitzer representing MSCHE and Dr. Roger Boltz, representing ACOE.  Dr. Schweitzer is the President of Union Graduate School, affiliated witih Union University in Schenectady, New York.  Dr. Boltz, who currently serves as Chair of ACOE, will be the ACOE co-chair for the site visit.  He is currently Associate Dean at the College of Optometry, University of Houston.  Other team members will be appointed shortly by both agencies.
Visitors From Nigeria
The College, in cooperation with Lighthouse International, hosted three optometrists from Nigeria for a two-week period at the end of March and beginning of April.  One of the OD's is a low vision specialist who operates the only low vision private practice in Nigeria.  The other two visitors are faculty members at the School of Optometry of Abia State University in Nigeria.
The visit was for the purpose of clinical observation both at SUNY and at the Lighthouse.  While the emphasis was on low vision, sessions were also scheduled here in the Ocular Disease and Head Trauma clinics as well.
Dr. Michael Heiberger, who directs the College's international programs, indicated that "SUNY and the Lighthouse expect to receive a proposal from Abia State University for a Nigerian government-funded program to send Nigerian optometrists for three-month periods of study at SUNY and the Lighthouse".
Second Year Support for China Low Vision Project
The College has received funding in the amount of $164,000 from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind for the second year of a project to establish a Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation at the School of Optometry and Ophthalmology at Wenzhou Medical College in China.  That Center, newly built, has opened and the first patients were seen on April 16th.
Faculty at SUNY who have been participating in the project include Drs. William O'Connell, Richard Soden, Rebecca Marinoff and Jay CohenDr. Michael Heiberger is the Project Director.  Ms. Nancy Cohen, a vision rehabilitation specialist has been a consultant.
A team from Wenzhou was here in New York last Fall and spent time at the College as well as at a number of agencies and schools in the area that provide low vision and vision rehabilitation services.  Much of what they learned is already being implemented in the new Center in Wenzhou.
In June and July of this year, three staff members from Wenzhou will be in New York to train as ancillary personnel capable of both providing a range of vision rehabilitation services as well as training others at Wenzhou Medical College and throughout China on this aspect of the care of the visually impaired.
The Arthur and Phyllis Milton Foundation Supports SUNY Homebound Program
The Arthur and Phyllis Milton Foundation, Inc. has awarded the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) a $5,000 grant in support of the Manhattan Homebound Program.  The initiative will provide much-needed vision care to underserved patients throughout the borough in the coming year.  This is a first-time grant from the Foundation.
The Homebound Program, begun by the College more than 25 years ago, sends optometrists into local neighborhoods in order to provide high quality patient care for people confined to their homes.
The grant will offer access to essential services for people with impaired sight who are at risk for increased falls and fractures, depression, and difficulty identifying medications, which can lead to serious drug-related errors, among other dangers.  Homebound populations particularly at risk include older adults, people with multiple disabilities and/or other health conditions (e.g., stroke, cancer, obesity, paralysis and dementia), which can make it challenging, if not impossible, to access available health services in the community.
"We are delighted that our new partnership with The Arthur and Phyllis Milton Foundation will enable us to provide essential patient care services in local communities," said Richard Feinbloom, President of the OCNY.
The Optometric Center of New York is the allied and endowing foundation for the SUNY College of Optometry, and is the primary source of private support for its patient care facility, the University Eye Center, providing grants for projects such as a homebound initiative, Indigent Care Project and Scholarship Fund, among others.
Newly Appointed SUNY Trustee, Eunice A. Lewin, Visits the College
Eunice Ashman LewinMs. Eunice Ashman Lewin, a Trustee of the State University of New York (SUNY), visited the College on Tuesday, April 20.  Appointed to the SUNY Board of Trustees in February 2010 by Governor Paterson, Trustee Lewin's term is through June 2016.  During her visit, she met witih President Heath and was given a tour of the College facilities by Dr. David Troilo, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs and Dr. Richard Soden, Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Executive Director of the University Eye Center.
Employed as a bilingual social worker for the Committee on Special Education at the Buffalo Board of Education since 1979, Trustee Lewin serves on several Boards of Directors, including the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, as commissioner; Roswell Park Alliance, as a founding member; Hispanic United of Buffalo and Canisius College Board of Regents.
- U N I V E R S I T Y   E Y E   C E N T E R -
Health Update - - "High Blood Pressure and Vision Loss" 
High blood pressure is a cardiovascular disease that can affect the functioning of many parts of our body, including the eye and the visual system.  High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can affect the retinal blood vessels in the back of the eye.  The end result may be hypertensive retinopathy (hemorrhages or fluid leakage) or retinal vein occlusions.  This means that the retinal veins become narrow and compressed which may result in a blockage to a portion of the circulatory system that drains the retina of blood.  Thus leading to possible branch or central vein occlusions.  Optic nerve atrophy and vision loss may also occur.  Uncontrolled high blood pressure, if left untreated, is a leading factor in the cause of strokes.
The damage from high blood pressure is cumulative.  The longer one's blood pressure remains high, the more likely of the occurence of permanent vision loss.  As part of a comprehensive eye examination, a retinal evaluation is performed to determine if there are signs of hypertensive retinopathy.  If hypertension is suspected, the patient is referred to his/her primary care provider for diagnosis and management.  Many patients first learn that they may have high blood pressure during their eye examination. 
- R E S E A R C H -
Invited Talks & Publications 
Dr. Barry Lee
and Dr. Qasim Zaidi have been elected to four year terms as Directors of the International Colour Vision Society.
Dr. Richard Madonna will be one of two American keynote speakers at the Southern Regional Conference in Melbourne, Australia in May.  He will speak about the latest technology in eye disease - optical coherence tomography (OCT), the assessments and implications of the quality of life in glaucoma, therapeutic management of glaucoma and compliance with therapy.  He will also talk about going from VT to OCT along with Sue Cotter, O.D.
On March 24, 2010, Dr. Peter Reinach gave a talk on "Cell signaling pathways mediating proinflammatory cytokine release in corneal epithelial cells" at Wakayama Medical School in Wakayama, Japan.
Song, J.H., McPeek, R.M. (2010).  "Roles of Narrow- and Broad-Spiking Dorsal Premotor Area Neurons in Reach Target Selection and Movement Production."  J. Neurophysiology, 103:2124-2138.
Okada, Y., Reinach, P.S., Kitano, A., Shirai, K., Kao, W.W., Saika, S. (2010). "Neurotrophic keratopthy; its pathophysiology and treatment".  Histol Histopathol, 25(6):771-780.
Mergler, S., Valtink, M., Coulson-Thomas, V.J., Lindemann, D., Reinach, P.S., Engelmann, K., Pleyer, U. (2010).  "TRPV channels mediate temperature-sensing in human corneal endothelial cells".  Exp Eye Res., 23.
Stark, L.R., Kruger, P.B., Rucker, F.J., Swanson, W.H., Schmidt, N., Hardy, C., Rutman, H., Borgovan, T., Burke, S., Badar, M. and Shah, R. (2009).  "Potential signal to accommodation from the Stiles-Crawford effect and ocular monochromatic aberrations".  Journal of Modern Optics, 56(20), 2203-2216.
- P E R S O N N E L -
Ms. Yodania PaulinoThe College and the Office of Business Affairs is pleased to announce that Ms. Yodania Paulino has joined the staff in the capacity of Associate Director.  Ms. Paulino brings much experience in the area of accounts payable.  For the past three years, she was a clerk in the Primary Care Clinic of the College's University Eye Center and was promoted to the position last month.  She is currently pursuing her BA degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at City College of the City University of New York (CUNY). We congratulate her and wish her success in her new position.
In Memoriam 
Dr. Florence Springer 
We recently learned that a long time member of the staff of the University Eye Center, Dr. Florence Springer, passed away.  Dr. Springer was a psychologist in the LDU Clinic for over 30 years.  Her dedication and loyalty to the Clinic and its patients were unending.  Dr. Springer continued working at the UEC until she fully retired from the Clinic last year at the age of 94.  She will be missed and always remembered.
*The College would like to remind everyone that all job openings are posted on the College website --http://www.sunyopt.edu/HR/jobs.shtml.
Copyright 2010, SUNY College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
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